Author Viet Hung is the co-founder of a successful software development company. In 2018, after a decade of hard work, Hung resigned from his managerial position to pursue happiness. THE HAPPINESS JOURNAL is a collection of posts from Hung’s personal blog, where he shares thoughts about meditation, mindfulness, the value of living in the present, and humanity’s search for meaning.
Hung is not a native English speaker. The blog posts that make up THE HAPPINESS JOURNAL were originally written in Vietnamese and have been translated to English by the author. While the translations can sometimes be stiff, Hung’s writing resonates with his “authentic voice” and engages the reader in a “direct conversation” about life and happiness. His unique perspective brings together ideas from a variety of sources, including Burmese monks, Irish poets, English musicians, Japanese minimalists, and French moralists.
The central theme of THE HAPPINESS JOURNAL is the importance of self-reflection and the text is sprinkled with important questions that are designed to guide readers towards that goal. Hung encourages readers to continuously question what would make them happy, and to cultivate thoughts and actions that will lead them towards that happiness. The key, he claims, is observation—the ability to recognize your own beliefs and follow them. One unique aspect of the book is the author’s use of QR codes to provide readers with additional mindful content. When scanned, the codes scattered throughout lead to guided meditation scripts, presentations, and writing prompts and their inclusion is a clever way to add extra value to what would otherwise be a traditional self-improvement book.
Hung’s ultimate goal is “to inspire everyone to have a positive, well-rounded, peaceful, meaningful, fulfilled, energetic, and intense life”. There are some chapters that lose sight of that goal and become self-indulgent. However, the majority of the book’s entries are filled with glimpses of wisdom and kindness and Hung’s insights and unique perspective make THE HAPPINESS JOURNAL stand out in the crowded self-improvement genre.
Author Viet Hung’s perspective as a Vietnamese businessman adds a unique spin to THE HAPPINESS JOURNAL, and his earnest and easy to engage with writing style and use of QR codes to expand the impact of the book is both inventive and effective.
~Stephani Hren for IndieReader